Different Types of Marine Radio Licences

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Recreational Boating

When operating a recreational vessel, whether within Australia or internationally, if the vessel is equipped with a marine radio, there must be a licensed operator on board. In Australia, the appropriate license for marine VHF radio is the Short Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (SROCP), which is valid for international use. If the vessel carries an MF/HF radio, then the operator must hold the Long Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (LROCP), which also qualifies them for VHF marine radio.

Australian Waters Qualification (AWQ)

There is a domestic qualification specific to Australia, the Australian Waters Qualification (AWQ), this has limited usability for coastal boating and yacht racing. and can not be used commercially.

The AWQ is not internationally recognised and can not be used commercially. Due to the extremely limited recognition of the AWQ we do not offer this qualification at Above and Beyond Boating.

International Boating

If you need to provide an International Certificate of Competence (ICC), you will usually be asked to submit a copy of your marine VHF radio license, the SROCP. It can be obtained from anywhere in the world, and you don't need to be an Australian citizen or in Australia to complete the marine radio licensing process with Above and Beyond Boating.

Get an MMSI number!

Mobile Marine Service Identities (MMSI)

Digital Selective Calling (DSC) will not work without a MMSI Number. To obtain an MMSI number, you need either an SROCP or LROCP. 

Some older or overseas qualifications may be accepted by AMSA as long as they include DSC in the training and certification process. This should be confirmed with AMSA on an individual basis.

After obtaining your marine radio licence, applying for a new MMSI number or transferring an existing one is straightforward and free of charge. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issues MMSI numbers, typically overnight, upon receiving your completed application and proof of your marine radio licence.

Our training exceeds the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standards. Upon completing our online radio course and passing the assessment, the Office of Maritime Communications (OMC) within the Australian Maritime College (AMC) issues your licence. The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) designated the AMC to issue internationally recognised SROCP and LROCP in Australia.

Amateur and aviation radio certificates are not valid for marine radio operations. These operators must successfully gain their SROCP/ LROCP Certification.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued Marine Order 505 in March 2022, outlining the necessary marine radio licensing requirements for crew members and masters operating commercial vessels solely within Australia. 

Commercial Certification

Coxswain Grade 1 Near Coastal (NC) or Sailing Master Coastal
The SROCP meets the minimum marine radio licensing requirements.
Sailing Master Offshore NC, Master <24 m NC, Master <45m NC, and Master <100 m NC
The LROCP is the required qualification for marine radio operation
RYA Yachtmaster Coastal, Offshore and Ocean
The SROCP is the required qualification for marine radio operation, however to use the qualification commercially you will need an LROCP in Australia. For most of the world the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore can be used commercially with only an SROCP.
While an SROCP suffices for several of these qualifications, as you progress toward commercial certifications, the LROCP becomes mandatory. Thus, it's more practical to obtain the LROCP from the beginning when pursuing maritime commercial qualifications.

Learning Online

Our courses have been specifically designed for an online learning experience. Enrolment in an online course presents a flexible opportunity to work at your own pace. Our team can provide feedback, instruction and personal support to help you get the answers you need. 

Completing a radio exam

To attain your radio licence (certificate of proficiency), you must complete an exam. We have been approved by the Office of Maritime Communications to offer you a  remote assessment. The remote assessment is conducted via a video call and has two components to the radio exam:

  1. Theory assessment -  SROCP is 25 multiple choice questions and the LROCP is 50 multiple choice questions, completed online. This is a closed book assessment and the required pass mark is 70%. 
  2. Practical assessment - a short observation where you will be asked to demonstrate your ability to use a radio, and how to make routine and distress calls. This is completed on the video call using our radio equipment. 

Before sitting your exam, you will be required to pay a licence fee directly to the Office of Maritime Communications who mark the exam papers and distribute licences. This licence fee is not included in the online course enrolment. Your certificate of proficiency does not expire. 

You can apply to complete a remote assessment when you have enrolled in the online course. The assessment is scheduled using an online calendar. Currently the Office of Maritime Communications are taking 15 working days to issue a licence after your assessment has been completed.

Course Options

Online VHF Radio Course - 4 hour course
Preparation for the SROCP

You need this licence to use a VHF radio and to obtain an MMSI number for your radio and/or AIS. This is our recommended pathway to a radio licence for recreational boaters carrying a VHF radio.
Online HF Radio Course - 6 hour course
Preparation for the LROCP

This licence allows you to operate a High Frequency (HF) and a VHF radio. Once issued with the licence, you can apply for an MMSI number for your radio and/or AIS. This is our recommended pathway to a radio licence if you plan to operate an HF radio or work commercially on boats.

Why Our Customers Love Us?

Advancements in Marine Safety:A Discussion with Linda Berryman from AMSA

Having an MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) programmed into your AIS (Automatic Identification System) or marine radio is essential for:

  • Safety and Identification: The MMSI serves as a unique identifier for your vessel, allowing other vessels and maritime authorities to identify your boat quickly. In emergencies, the MMSI helps rescue services locate and assist you quickly.
  • AIS Communication: AIS transponders use the MMSI to exchange crucial information with other vessels and shore stations. This communication enhances situational awareness, especially in busy waterways or areas with high maritime traffic.

Our guest expert for this episode of Boating Insights is Linda Berryman, whose role at AMSA involves providing specialist advice on distress alerting, communication and safety systems.

You can apply for an Australian MMSI number by completing an MMSI application online at ⁠www.amsa.gov.au/mmsi⁠

⁠Click here to learn more about radio courses and licencing options >